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Help ! Can’t ID bird I saw .- Central California (1 Viewer)

The text referring to the Mexican birds accompanied a photo of a very black bird. Maybe you saw one that had strayed farther north than most.
The text referring to the Mexican birds accompanied a photo of a very black bird. Maybe you saw one that had strayed farther north than most.
Hi , I’m new to this site and unsure of how to navigate in it . How can I get a look at this photo you refer to ?
 
Hi Blyth

The warbler we are referring to is a Goldman’s Warbler a species of Yellow-rumped Warbler (it’s not found in the States and has a very restricted range)

check here
Thanks Deb , this is the closest we’ve come , but still very different from the bird I saw in that “my” bird had no wing bars or yellow on its body . It also had a more slender appearance . I am mystified and don’t know enough about birds to know if an individual bird can somehow vary dramatically from the species norm ?
 
Yellow crown stripe does make one think of golden-crowned kinglet; no other North American bird comes to mind. However, even a melanistic kinglet won't match the description. Golden-crowned kinglets don't have yellow throats.

Also, I doubt melanism is going to be the answer. Melanism is rare to begin with, but I've never seen a melanistic bird so perfectly black as to be glossy.

I've got no good answers - that Guatamalan warbler is a way better match than anything I can think of. Melanistic meadowlark? Starling (or black phoebe, or...) that somebody painted?

Edit: Yellow-headed blackbird deserves another look - it's in range (and only during migration, so it might not be familiar). A female, or not-quite-mature male, could give the impression of yellow throat plus yellow crown. This individual comes close:
 
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For those of you who are just joining this thread , here is the full story again . I am in central the California sierras at 3500 hundred feet elevation . The local is open woodland with water nearby . I was sitting on my deck when this bird landed on a tree branch at eye level about ten feet away . Full sunlight . It sat in three quarter ( turned away ) profile for several seconds . What caught my attention was how beautifully black it was . From that angle entirely so coal black it looked glossy ! No markings of any kind were visible . In size and shape it resembled an American Goldfinch although perhaps somewhat larger. It then hopped to three quarter profile facing me and I was startled to see a very intense yellow crown stripe , perhaps an eight inch wide by five eights long . Its throat was the same intense yellow . It then flew off so I only saw it for perhaps four or five seconds . This I definitely saw , what follows are impressions that I didn’t get to confirm: I think the yellow throat faded to a paler color as it descended into the breast and there may have been from this new angle faint yellow eyebrows . This was last week , April 8th and I haven’t seen it again . Nobody around here has seen anything similar either . I am mystified.
 
For those of you who are just joining this thread , here is the full story again . I am in central the California sierras at 3500 hundred feet elevation . The local is open woodland with water nearby . I was sitting on my deck when this bird landed on a tree branch at eye level about ten feet away . Full sunlight . It sat in three quarter ( turned away ) profile for several seconds . What caught my attention was how beautifully black it was . From that angle entirely so coal black it looked glossy ! No markings of any kind were visible . In size and shape it resembled an American Goldfinch although perhaps somewhat larger. It then hopped to three quarter profile facing me and I was startled to see a very intense yellow crown stripe , perhaps an eight inch wide by five eights long . Its throat was the same intense yellow . It then flew off so I only saw it for perhaps four or five seconds . This I definitely saw , what follows are impressions that I didn’t get to confirm: I think the yellow throat faded to a paler color as it descended into the breast and there may have been from this new angle faint yellow eyebrows . This was last week , April 8th and I haven’t seen it again . Nobody around here has seen anything similar either . I am mystified.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's Warbler)

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I Already suggested Aubudon’s Warbler see my posts and links to Yellow-rumped Warbler above!

Post in thread 'Help ! Can’t ID bird I saw .'
https://www.birdforum.net/threads/help-can’t-id-bird-i-saw.407313/post-4172612

Please read whole thread before suggesting species otherwise it will be hard to rule things out!

Thanks. I saw that, but your posts are generally unhelpful and sometimes wrong (but you fail to ever acknowledge so). Perhaps you should read the thread more closely. Did you not see it was on the right track? So, I wanted to give a picture that is a more clear match since individual birds are variable.

Also, why would you even suggest YHBB is beyond me. This is not the first time you post in here as if you are an expert and it is clear you have minimal idea what you're talking about.

You really need to work on your etiquette. That is why I ignored your PM regarding the Gray-breasted Martin. You shouldn't have to apologize for Butty, but yourself.
 
... your posts are generally unhelpful and sometimes wrong (but you fail to ever acknowledge so). ...This is not the first time you post in here as if you are an expert and it is clear you have minimal idea what you're talking about.

...
Dear NY_Birder, this is not helpfull in any way, please keep BF a nice place to discuss about identification and other topics
 
Thanks. I saw that, but your posts are generally unhelpful and sometimes wrong (but you fail to ever acknowledge so). Perhaps you should read the thread more closely. Did you not see it was on the right track? So, I wanted to give a picture that is a more clear match since individual birds are variable.

Also, why would you even suggest YHBB is beyond me. This is not the first time you post in here as if you are an expert and it is clear you have minimal idea what you're talking about.

You really need to work on your etiquette. That is why I ignored your PM regarding the Gray-breasted Martin. You shouldn't have to apologize for Butty, but yourself.
I think the above attack on Deb is completely out of order. Ever since joining bird forum I have found her posts very helpful and informative. I think she Does know what she is talking about and has rarely got an ID wrong.
 
Thanks. I saw that, but your posts are generally unhelpful and sometimes wrong (but you fail to ever acknowledge so). Perhaps you should read the thread more closely. Did you not see it was on the right track? So, I wanted to give a picture that is a more clear match since individual birds are variable.

Also, why would you even suggest YHBB is beyond me. This is not the first time you post in here as if you are an expert and it is clear you have minimal idea what you're talking about.

You really need to work on your etiquette. That is why I ignored your PM regarding the Gray-breasted Martin. You shouldn't have to apologize for Butty, but yourself.
The previous posts by Deb Burhinus and her explanation what a Goldmans warbler is was also all helpfull, just to post another good and friendly example.
I cannot see anything in her posts that would in any way justify this behaviour to another forum member, NY Birder.



From the discussion of the bird , I would think that the best fit might be a melanistic Audubons warbler, even if there is no photo of such a bird.
 
Melanism can produce strange birds:

Look at this melanistic great tit

or this melanistic white wagtail

or this melanistic yellowhammer

or this melanistic Kookaburra

or this melanistic Gabar goshawk

or this melanistic Chinstrap penguin

In some of the birds here some plumage elements are still the normal light color (e.g. the Kookaburra and the Chinstrap penguin) while most of the plumage is dark , in others like the melanistic white wagtail or the melanistic coal tit also the light body areas are darkened. Imagine an Audubons warbler with a mutation like the former , then the yellow crown stripe and the yellow throat might be the only light areas.

However if the bird doesn´t reappear chances are slim that we find out what it was.
 
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The previous posts by Deb Burhinus and her explanation what a Goldmans warbler is was also all helpfull, just to post another good and friendly example.
I cannot see anything in her posts that would in any way justify this behaviour to another forum member, NY Birder.



From the discussion of the bird , I would think that the best fit might be a melanistic Audubons warbler, even if there is no photo of such a bird.
Thank you Joern , in my book ( Peterson) the male western form of of Grace’s warbler is by far the closest to what I saw . The only difference being that aside from the crown and throat it was all black . An unusual melanistic individual ?
 
The previous posts by Deb Burhinus and her explanation what a Goldmans warbler is was also all helpfull, just to post another good and friendly example.
I cannot see anything in her posts that would in any way justify this behaviour to another forum member, NY Birder.



From the discussion of the bird , I would think that the best fit might be a melanistic Audubons warbler, even if there is no photo of such a bird.
The previous posts by Deb Burhinus and her explanation what a Goldmans warbler is was also all helpfull, just to post another good and friendly example.
I cannot see anything in her posts that would in any way justify this behaviour to another forum member, NY Birder.



From the discussion of the bird , I would think that the best fit might be a melanistic Audubons warbler, even if there is no photo of such a bird.
Can’t tell if you got my reply ! The male western form of Grace’s warbler is the closest I can find . Crown and breast right , size and conformation right . Just everything else black .
 
But Grace´s warbler doesn´t have a yellow crown stripe, it has a yellow supercilium (the stripe just above the eye)?!

the golden-crowned kinglet and the Audubons warbler have a yellow crown stripe in contrast . if you are sure the bird had ayellow superilium we may be looking for something different. whatever it is , melanistic bird seems likely from your descripztion , but would be extremely rare in most species. so i fear we´ll never know what it was...
 
But Grace´s warbler doesn´t have a yellow crown stripe, it has a yellow supercilium (the stripe just above the eye)?!

the golden-crowned kinglet and the Audubons warbler have a yellow crown stripe in contrast . if you are sure the bird had ayellow superilium we may be looking for something different. whatever it is , melanistic bird seems likely from your descripztion , but would be extremely rare in most species. so i fear we´ll never know what it was...
Thanks again , you are right about Grace’s warbler , however there is a western form male that does have a crown stripe . At least it does in my book , Peterson’s Western Birds page 289 . If you kept the crown and throat and made everything else black , that would be the bird I saw . I’m sure you’re right , we can only guess and probably never know for sure . I’m going to settle for that being what I saw so many thanks to you and everyone else who commented ! A melanistic male western form grace’s warbler .
 
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